Cape Town’s first Eco-Film Festival (and win a green home hamper)

eco film festival banner Cape Towns first Eco Film Festival (and win a green home hamper)

The Cape Town Eco Film Festival will be the first of its kind in the city. The festival will take place at the Labia Theatre on Orange Street in Cape Town, and will run for five days from the 27th to the 31st March. It will bring together the best local and international documentary films focusing on environmental issues. Altogether, the festival will feature 25 eco-films and 10 local premieres. They will also host guest speakers and Q&A sessions to discuss important issues around environmentalism, from climate change and pollution to plummeting biodiversity and diminishing natural resources.

For each ticket purchased at R45, R5 will be donated to Greenpop, who will use the money to help finance their re-forestation efforts in South Africa and Zambia. You can reserve tickets for the Cape Town Eco-Festival by calling the Labia box office on 021 424 5927 or you can buy tickets at

Zeke Murphy,  of, comments: “I believe that a film festival such as the Cape Town Eco film festival is critical in the continued effort to protect our planet for our children. is committed to raising awareness regarding issues with our environment, climate change and protecting our wild life, and we feel that our involvement in the film festival is a wonderful means to raising these issues within the South African community.”

Competition to win a green home hamper

To promote the event, is hosting a Facebook competition this month. The competition will run from 10th March right up until the start of the festival. The competition quiz will ask questions regarding environmental issues. Participants will be in with a chance of winning a green home hamper worth over R1000, which includes a water saving showerhead, solar jar, energy monitor and eco cooker from More information about the prizes can be found on the blog. To enter, all you have to do is visit’s Facebook competition page and test your knowledge by completing the quiz, after all, the first step towards action is awareness.

The Road in Iceland: Environmental disaster or economic progress?

Katie Wise and Ashley Moradipour need your help to make a documentary that tells the story of a group of dedicated Icelanders vs. a big road constuction project.

Iceland is a nation well-known for its breathtaking natural landscapes and formations, which Icelanders hold dear to their hearts. This is why a recent road construction project has caused people to fight back. This new road will run from the Alftanes peninsula, where the presidential office is, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer; the projected plan involves the road cutting directly through the largest lava field in the Reykjavik area. Icelanders of all walks of life, from artists to musicians to elf “seers” are protesting the construction of this road, arguing that the new road is unnecessarily destroying Iceland’s natural beauty. During the fall of 2013, dozens of “friends of lava” (an environmentalist group) gathered around the lava rocks every day, sitting and singing songs to peacefully protest the construction of this road. One day, the friends of lava were confronted with the “biggest bulldozer in Iceland” and over 50 police officers. After not backing down to the officers’ requests to leave the lava field, protesters were physically removed from the area and 9 were arrested and sent to jail. Since that day, the 9 arrested were sent to court for a hearing, but they continue to fight for the preservation of this lava field.

Our documentary will follow the story of this road construction project and the passionate protesters who are fighting to save the land. While the personal stories that will be shared through the film are specific to this cause, the broader issue to be explored is the constant struggle between preserving nature and the expansion of a nation. This documentary will take you into the lives of passionate Icelanders and give a whole new perspective on environment vs. economy.

Green Energy Affected by Labour Party Price Freezes

Green or renewable energy firms remain up in arms about the prospect of a fuel price freeze for consumers if people elect Labour the next general election. Reports are emerging that large investments in renewable energy are likely to suffer and that is not going to help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets of an 80% reduction from the 1990 baseline by 2050. That may seem like a long way off, but it could be as short as five prime ministerial terms, which begs the question of whether our political terms are hindering our drive for lower carbon emissions in the UK?

Vote Bait Damaging Renewable Energy Initiatives

There’s little doubt that the renewable energy market will pay the price for politicians who consider telling people what they want to hear more important than producing a long-term plan for greener and sustainable methods of energy production.

Given the optimistic targets, you would think that the government would be keen to invest heavily in renewables, but the exact opposite seems to be happening with the UK government helping BP fight court battles in the U.S. to win new federal contracts and reduce the number of false claims. This report from the BBC explains how U.S. firms unaffected by the environmental disaster, to which BP admitted responsibility, are now seeking to claim compensation from the UK oil giant.

Jobs and Votes

Obviously, we must protect jobs, but the rise of fracking for shale gas in the U.S. has already reduced the profitability of Oil for use in power stations and I would like to suggest that our government should spend our money on creating jobs here in a renewable energy market. Businesses like B.P. have raked in billions over recent decades, so can’t these industries stand on their own without the need for government assistance?

Surely, more votes would be forthcoming if we had low cost energy generated locally and in a cleaner environment? How about focussing on building an electric charge network for electric cars so petrol prices are no longer an issue and concentrate on using renewables to generate the energy required to charge those cars. A government willing to take the hard route with a long-term plan would win my vote. Electrifying more of the railways is a good start and recent initiatives have been a move in the right direction, but there simply isn’t enough focus on clean energy production infrastructure.

Long Term Development of Energy Efficient Products

When the move to do away with the traditional tungsten filament light bulbs took place, governments around the world made a positive move that benefits the environment because of the lower energy consumption alternatives that replaced them. However, technology exists to further reduce consumption with alternatives and while it’s not a good idea to wipe an industry out overnight, surely, the need to reduce our carbon emissions should be a big enough driving factor to force through further change? At the moment, it seems as though energy efficiency is only driven by the high cost of fuel.

This is a guest post by Shaun Thomas who is working with World of Solar to promote the use of green energy products in the home and businesses in the UK.

Image credit: Simon Howden via

What Are Dry Cleaners Doing to Our Environment?

Aquatic pollut red 300x300 What Are Dry Cleaners Doing to Our Environment?Dry cleaning is a process of cleaning clothing or textiles which uses chemical solvents rather than water. Most of the time, a solvent called perchloroethylene (which is also known as ‘perc’) is used to clean the fabrics. Dry cleaning is useful for very delicate fabrics that would be destroyed if they were being tossed around in a washing machine or a clothes dryer and it is a lot less labour intensive than hand washing.

Unfortunately, although dry cleaning is very convenient for washing our clothes, it can be very damaging to the environment. The by-products of this chemical process are a lot more harmful than you might realise.

The Waste Produced by Dry Cleaning

Your average dry cleaning shop produces a number of harmful waste products, which include solvent, soils, carbon, dyes, grease, and powdered filter material. The filters that are used in the machines are hazardous waste, as well as the perchloroethylene. When these chemicals come into contact with humans and other animals within the area, they have a definite negative effect on the health and well-being of everyone who is exposed to them.

Many studies have revealed how dangerous perchloroethylene is for human health. It has been shown to cause fertility problems, menstrual irregularities and even spontaneous abortions in women who work within the dry cleaning industry. Also, when there is a dry cleaning plant in the community these chemicals can seep into the drinking water and cause some serious health problems. Doctors have linked this chemical to liver damage, kidney disease and much more. It has also been identified as a likely carcinogen according to the International Association for Research on Cancer.

skull 150x150 What Are Dry Cleaners Doing to Our Environment?

Perchloroethylene is classified as so dangerous to humans that it must be handled as hazardous waste. Also, when it is released into the air, it can contribute to smog and can react with other volatile organic carbon substances. Even more frightening, a study recently conducted at Georgetown University shows that perch stays in your clothes after you have dry cleaned them, which means that this chemical is against your skin and contaminating your body. The perch levels within the clothes increase with repeat cleanings.

We have known that perch has negative effects on human health for many years, so why is it still being used within dry cleaning franchises? It is important to reinforce the dangers of this environmental hazard so that we can make the water we drink safer for our children.Once perch has entered your body, it can become stored within your fat tissue. This will have a serious effect on your long term health and will increase your risk of cancer and other diseases.

Reactions to the Toxicity of Dry Cleaning

Once it was discovered just how harmful dry cleaning was for the environment, what was the reaction among environmentalists and dry cleaning companies?

Once the threat was addressed, many environmental consultants began to be more vigilant to the threat of water pollution from dry cleaners in the community. There are a number of environmental data resources that help to track where environmental pollutants exist, or used to exist. These maps are designed to show the high risk environmental pollutants in the region throughout history, showing where gas stations, manufactured Gas Plants and dry cleaners would have been.

Perch dry cleaners are now subject to government regulation and there are strict rules about how they can dispose of their toxic substances. There are also many important air quality rules and regulations that apply to Perch Dry Cleaning operations and the emissions that they make. Environmental inspectors are keeping a close eye on this industry to ensure that operators comply with the regulations.

In response to consumer complaints, many dry cleaners have started to look into switching to alternative methods of cleaning. Hydrocarbon solvents have been used, which tend to work just as well as the standard dry cleaning chemicals but don’t have the harmful side effects. Also, a wet cleaning system that uses water and biodegradable soap has been successful on suede, wool, leather and silk clothing.

If we can be aware of this risk and discover new ways of cleaning our clothes, we can decrease the negative effect that dry cleaning has on the environment.

This is a guest post by Marshall Peterson, a freelance writer, blogger and environmental activist. He has been involved in environmental charities for years and volunteers to clean up wetlands in his own hometown.

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